Darren Doyle, story and photos:
It was a solemn and quiet afternoon for local law enforcement and other emergency personnel as over two dozen men and women in uniform stood at attention one last time to honor a fallen officer, which was Edmonson County K-9 Deputy Tango.
Today, the Edmonson County Sheriff's Office made the announcement of Tango's passing.
"The Edmonson County Sheriff’s Office is devastated to announce that our beloved K-9 Deputy, Tango, has passed," said the Sheriff's Office in a press release. "Tango succumbed to an aggressive kidney disease and with his health rapidly failing, our office made the difficult decision to put Tango to rest."
Tango became ill a couple of weeks ago and after several tests, it was determined that he had developed a kidney disorder which could not be treated. In a gut-wrenching ceremony yesterday at Thomas Veterinary Clinic in Smiths Grove, Tango was honored as he made his final trip with his handler, Deputy Jordan Jones into the clinic. Tango was euthanized peacefully around 6pm last night with his family close by.
Jones was more than Tango's handler. Tango lived with the Jones family and he became part of it. Deputy Jones was instrumental in the acquisition of Tango nearly four years ago, as he spent hours of his own personal time researching and training to be a K-9 handler.
"Deputy Jones and Tango were a perfect team, and there is a huge hole in our hearts from his loss," the statement from the Sheriff's Office stated. "Tango can never be replaced."
Tango specialized not only in narcotics detection, but also criminal apprehension and tracking. He was outfitted with his own specialized law enforcement and safety gear, which included a bullet-proof vest, and he had a custom seat with special ventilation in Deputy Jones' police cruiser.
The local community made it possible for Tango to be part of the Edmonson County Sheriff's Office. 100% of all the funds required for Tango was raised through donations and benefits. Those came from a multitude of events, which included a benefit firearm auction hosted by C&C Firearms in September of 2016 that raised nearly half the funds at once.
"The Edmonson County Sheriff’s Office would like to extend a special thank you to the following agencies who assisted us in Tango’s final hour: Brownsville Police Department, Kentucky State Police, Warren County Sheriff’s Office, Smiths Grove Police Department, Brownsville Fire Department, Chalybeate Fire Department, Wingfield Fire Department, Kentucky Probation and Parole, Edmonson County EMS, and especially to Thomas and England Veterinary Clinic for their dignified and caring treatment of Tango throughout his life," said the Sheriff's Office. "We would also like to thank Hills Pet Foods for all of the high-quality nutrition they provided for Tango."
Tango was a favorite among students in Edmonson County as he was routinely part of school assemblies and played a vital role in the local D.A.R.E. program. He would regularly demonstrate his abilities to track items and perform through obstacle courses; however, students became extremely excited when Tango would attack their principal, who would wear a protective sleeve as Tango was instructed to bite down on their arms.
He also gained national attention with his appearance on two cable television programs, "Live P.D." and "America's Top Dog," both on A&E.
"Lastly, we would like to thank Deputy Jordan Jones and his family for the excellent care and love they provided for Tango during his life and career with the ECSO," the Sheriff's Office stated. "We know that Tango wasn’t a pet in their home, but a family member."
Tango, a 6-year old German Shepherd is survived by his handler, Deputy Jordan Jones, his human family Courtney, Riley, and Lilly Jones, and one canine sibling, Gunner.